How To Survive A No Spend Month

How To Survive A No Spend Month
Carly Jacobs

’ve often toyed with the idea of trying a No Spend month but the truth is, I’m an enormous tight-ass and I don’t really spend that much money anyway. Sometimes I have to force myself to buy new underwear because I hate handing over cash for anything that isn’t exciting or edible. I do occasionally like to test my limits with little mini-challenges like No Cafe Coffee for a month or No New Yarn for a month (I’m a crocheter so that sounds a lot easier that it is). For anyone who isn’t as naturally frugal as I am, I just wanted to pop together a little guide for anyone who might be considering a No Spend month. Here are a few tips to get you started.


Lock down your rules 

You might like to try an Essentials Only Month where you only buy necessities and only from the supermarket. Things like groceries, toothpaste and toilet paper. You could do No Fancy Food Month where you ban yourself from spending any money at cafes and restaurants. Where ever you feel like you’re wasting money, that’s the area you need to focus on. If you’re struggling to figure out where all your money is going have a look at your latest bank statement and circle anything you can do without or any items you feel appear too often on the page. You could try a BYO Month where you don’t buy drinks in pubs (and by that I mean drink at home… don’t BYO to a pub!) or a DIY Month where you don’t spend any money on entertainment and you only do free activities. Pick your spending soft point and focus and on that.

Be sensible 

I’ve seen people (well I read about them on the internet) do some hard core no spend months where they end up ripping up old t-shirts to use as toilet paper. If you want to be really strict about it, go ahead but there’s no real lesson to be learnt by wiping your butt with an old Life Be In It t-shirt. If you need something urgently, buy it. But if you want some new jeans, an expensive chocolate treat or a fancy new pen to write your to-do list, those things can wait.

Have a savings goal 

There’s no point in having a No Spend month unless you’re going to track your progress. Grab last month’s bank statement or credit card statement and write down how much you spent last month on a post it and keep it somewhere you’ll see it. It will probably be a horrifyingly huge amount of money but that will only motivate you further. At the end of your no spend month, write down how much you spent on another post it and stick next to the previous months post it. Keep doing this for a few months and see if your no spend month affected your over all spending. Most people who have tracked their progress with a no spend month, reported an over all drop in spending in months following. Maybe doing just one no spend month per year might just be enough

Avoid preparing or compensating 

If you over spend before or after your no spend month it totally defeats the purpose of the experiment. You’re supposed to learn what it’s like to make do with what you have or get creative with alternatives. You won’t learn anything if you pre-buy everything you think you’ll need or want for the coming month.

Track your spending 

Keep a spreadsheet of your spendings – it shouldn’t be too hard to do because theoretically you’ll only be grocery shopping during the month. You should also focus every time you go to make a purchase. For example if you need to replace a light bulb, ask yourself if you can do without it for a little while or do you need to buy it now? Either answer is fine but this practice will just help you to be in more in tune with your spending habits and stop you from mindlessly throwing down your credit without questioning your behaviour.

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Have you ever tried a no spend month? How did it go? What’s your biggest spending issue?


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  1. gee 3 years ago

    Awesome links – need this for my Italy trip this year!

    • Author
      Carly Jacobs 3 years ago

      Oh have fun in Italy! I’d love to go there! x

  2. Missy D 3 years ago

    I haven’t tried a no spend month specifically, but I have gone through phases of being really strict with money when I wanted to reach a goal – like for travel.

    When I’m not watching my cashflow or I’m not as organised, I find most of my spending is on things like lunches at work or parking in the city instead of taking public transport. Sure adds up!

  3. my2morrows 3 years ago

    Along with giving up sugar, this is one thing I’m pretty sure I’d never be able to do. I could cut down but gosh Id struggle with no spend all together. Great tips though! Xx


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